New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, October 30, 2017
What did you see on film after reviewing yesterday
"First off, I thought some of the main things we had talked about as goals, we accomplished. I thought we did a good job overall versus the running game. I thought our guys inside played well, defensive tackles. There were a few big plays given up; we missed the long run early on. I thought offensively, Drew (Brees) played well. I thought the ball was out a little too often for my liking, but we made enough plays in the passing game. The early points (the Saints scored), we mentioned yesterday, we thought were significant. I thought (in) the kicking game, we were outstanding barring the last kickoff return by Chicago. But we changed field position, Thomas (Morstead) had one of his better games. So there are some encouraging things on the film, and yet, we're kind of going through some of the things that we have to improve on."
What did you think of how (Kenny) Vaccaro played?
"I thought he was very good. He received a game ball. (It was) probably one of his better games. (He was) extremely active, he had a lot of production."
With Delvin Breaux continuing to progress physically, what are some of the challenges of trying to work him back into the lineup, since he is eligible to return to the active roster this week?
"I think like anything else – it is kind of happening with Willie Snead – it is just getting the physical, the cardio, all the football-playing elements up to speed. I do not think you just flip the switch and then, 'Bang.' I think the same thing is taking place right now with Willie. He received several snaps yesterday, not as many as probably we would've liked and yet, he's someone that we're going to need down the stretch. I think that same process will take place with Delvin."
From yesterday, it sounded like you didn't think it was maybe worth emphasizing some of the things that are out of the team's control that may have influenced your success. But when you talk to the players about their perspective of how they've played recently, do you mention any of those things? Such as not having to play Aaron Rodgers a week ago in Green Bay and the overturned call in your favor yesterday?
"No, I don't. I think our league, each week is made up of breaks. We can't control the quarterback (who didn't play) a week ago and quite honestly, I thought they missed some calls yesterday. The key thing is understanding the true enemy or the true obstacles in front of you and how to overcome them, as opposed to paying attention to the things you can't control. Our message with this team – it's young – (is that) there's a lot of things we're doing well and yet, there's a number of things that we are not doing as well. And I do believe when we play in a bigger game against a better team, those can catch up with you. So we're still chasing a perfect four quarters of football, as opposed to a good half at Carolina or a good half at Green Bay. We are still working hard on improving some of these things that we have to get cleaned up. Each week, they understand that and they understand the challenge ahead. It is a week-to-week sprint here. We really feel like we have to win this work week versus Tampa Bay and have the good Wednesday and Thursday, Friday practice sessions. That's part of it."
Are you seeing a maturing process from this team in that they're finding different ways to win, that it doesn't have to be a singular way?
"It's been different and that's been encouraging. Defensively, we came up with some key stops in some tough situations. Short-field turnover, short-field kick return – and they responded. That's been outstanding."
Cam (Jordan) has talked a lot about chasing perfection, and I feel like you've talked about demonstrated ability and things like that. When the defense is playing as well as it is, how much can the confidence from that demonstrated ability spur them to keep this going or play even better?
"Absolutely, it can. Any defense that becomes very good, extremely good, and begins to feed off their past successes, does so because they gain confidence and they know they can repeat it again. I think that's been extremely encouraging. To their credit, to our credit, to the players that are out on the field, that's been a change and that's been something that we're going to need to continue to do."
With Justin Hardee, a guy you picked up towards the end of the preseason and converted from wide receiver to defensive back, how pleased are you with his performances so far on special teams?
"They've been good. Yesterday was a real good day for him. Punt coverage, he wins outside and makes a key stop. He has a little grit and attitude to him. He can run, he's tough, we saw that on his preseason film. And I've been encouraged that he has become a core player for us."